Digitalisation and technological disruption are no stranger to us these days. In fact, practically every facet of modern life, every industry we are familiar with, has been influenced by digitalisation and technologies in some way. Take blockchain, for example. This is a technology that was originally introduced as a fundamental component of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, but has since bloomed and flourished to become so much more. Blockchain is a decentralised virtual notion in modern security and privacy. Essentially, it works by creating encrypted “blocks” that are sent through the virtual landscape via a series of computer systems. In having the chain set up and stored on multiple computer systems, blockchain effectively creates a digital network that, in having information strewn across multiple systems, is both private and secure. Now, when applying blockchain to the food and dining industry, there is a world of potential ready and waiting for open implementation.
The food industry is booming. From the produce that makes it to farmers’ markets and supermarkets for sale to the public, to the fine dining experiences afforded to wonderful cafes and restaurants around the world, this is an industry that has become a global pillar over hundreds of years. Building an entire industry from necessary form of nourishment is an incredible achievement, though not unexpected at all. It is important to note that blockchain alone is not the answer to revolutionising and revitalising the food and dining industry, but it certainly is an important contributing factor. Consider this, for example. While blockchain is incorporated into food traceability, there can also be programs kick-started to work in collaboration with the blockchain to enhance the overall food experience (think water testing mechanisms, or set buffer zones in both fruit and vegetable and livestock operations, to name a few examples).
Similarly, blockchain alone is not able to verify if a carton of eggs is genuinely cage-free (or what the operation running the “cage-free” looks like in real-time). instead, what blockchain offers is essentially a road map that helps farmers get more information to consumers. This helps farmers showcase the quality of their produce more freely, and consumers to feel more secure in their food purchases. Essentially, this creates a new frontier in consumer engagement that typically is not reachable for farmers that do not get the chances to interact with consumers regularly or openly enough on an ongoing basis (for example, the farmers who do not sell their produce at the farmers’ market). Blockchain currently can give broad generalisations regarding how and where food is sourced (in accordance with other programs and platforms), but in the future, it could very well expand to become a mechanism that can explain why a specific food is sourced a certain way.
Of course, at the moment this is all just educated guess work on the promise of blockchain tech in the food and dining industry, but it speaks volumes of the hope and potential that blockchain carries in what many consider an unexpected industry to be associated with blockchain technology. Blockchain is all about creating a digital system that is both private and secure, while effectively being equal parts efficient and transparent. In the food industry, blockchain has begun to make its impact by creating an industry-wide collective mainframe that gives consumers clarity, shippers live updates on deliveries, and food establishments (think anything from grocery stores to restaurants) verification on where exactly their stocked produce comes from.
The digital age is all about convenience meeting efficiency, and blockchain is effectively making this ideal a reality in not only the food industry, but all over the world, across the board. The blockchain revolution is well underway, and there is no definitive end in sight. Inspiring convenience, efficiency, speed, and transparency, introducing blockchain to the food and dining industry is a bold move. And yet, it was always going to amount to this. With so much promise in one industry, it goes without saying that it was only a matter of time before the food and dining sector gained the attention of blockchain enthusiasts and industry professionals. We live in a world where we have effectively put ourselves amid a world of full-scale digitalisations and innovative assurances, and we love it. The flip side of the coin is, of course, that we have effectively put ourselves in the position of being more vulnerable than ever, not only to security threats but to blatant disregard for the truth of a matter.
Blockchain is changing the world. This is a digital solution that is effectively solving these issues and creating a new frontier in the rise of the digital. Bringing blockchain to the world has changed the face of privacy, security, and transparency in this digital age. Practically every industry, every facet of modern life has been impacted. Including, as it turns out, the food and dining sector. This is an industry that literally deals with our food, and so we should be paying the utmost attention to its security and the transparency of the system. Blockchain is already changing the industry, by improving efficiency, transparency, and collaborative efforts throughout the global food system. And this is just the beginning of what is likely to be a very fruitful, very colourful era in the food and dining industry – and it is all driven by blockchain capability.